Approved

 

NORTHERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Minutes of the Formal Session

of

Friday, April 30, 2021

 

A formal session of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University was held on Friday, April 30, 2021, in Ballroom I, Northern Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan.  The meeting was convened at 9:06 a.m., by Chair Tami M. Seavoy.

 

Trustees present included:

Ms. Tami M. Seavoy, Chair

Ms. Donna L. Murray-Brown

Ms. Lisa I. Fittante

Mr. Gregory J. Seppanen

Ms. Alexis M. Hart (via Zoom)

Mr. Stephen E. Young, Vice Chair

Mr. Robert E. Mahaney

Dr. Fritz J Erickson, ex officio

Mr. Jason T. Morgan

 

                                         

Senior Staff and Counsel present included:

Mr. Brad Canale, Chief Executive Officer – NMU Foundation

 

Mr. R. Gavin Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer of the Board of Trustees

Dr. Kerri Schuiling, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

 

Dr. Steven VandenAvond, Vice President for Extended Learning and Community Engagement

 

Ms. Deanna Hemmila, Executive Director – Board/Government Relations

 

Ms. Cathy A. Andrew, Secretary of the Board of Trustees

 

Mr. Kurt McCamman, Legal Counsel     

 

 

The meeting was live-streamed on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2UeD5Ex.

 

ROLL CALL

Secretary Andrew took roll call of the Trustees.  Chair Seavoy noted that a quorum was met with all Trustees being present.

 

MOTION TO APPROVE AGENDA

Chair Seavoy said she would like make the following changes to the meeting agenda:

 

·       Remove Item E.6. from the Formal Recommendations and add the items as 11.A., Charter School Reauthorizations for Walton Public School Academy and Burton Glen Public School Academy.

·       Add Item 13.A., COVID Vaccine Discussion.

 

The following action was taken:

 

It was moved by Trustee Seppanen, seconded by Trustee Murray-Brown, and supported by a vote of 8 – 0, to approve the agenda as amended.

 

MOMENT OF SILENCE

Provost Schuiling read memorials for the following:

·       Ms. Alexis Nelson – a Communication Studies major and U.S. Army veteran, who died on March 9, 2021.

·       Ms. Sandra Gibbons – an Information Assurance/Cyber Defense major, who died on April 16, 2021.

 

Vice President Gavin Leach read the following memorial:

·       Ms. Laura Gannon, Senior Secretary in the NMU Foundation, who died on February 1, 2021.

 

A moment of silence was held in their honor.

 

INDIVIDUAL REQUESTS TO ADDRESS THE BOARD

Dr. Dwight Brady, President of the American Association of United Professors (AAUP), addressed the Board regarding the current negotiations and common ground the AAUP union, administration, and Board of Trustees have and need to make the university the best it can possibly be and what is needed to attract the best faculty to the university, which in turn attracts students to the university.

 

Dr. Alexander Wilson addressed the Board regarding the need to allocate additional resources for the rapidly growing Medicinal Plant Chemistry Program.

 

Dr. Brandon Canfield addressed the Board regarding the salary disparity among natural science faculty.

 

Chair Seavoy thanked them for their comments.

 

INTRODUCTION OF GRADUATING SENIOR SPEAKING AT SPRING COMMENCEMENT

Provost and Vice President Schuiling introduced Mr. Jalen Sims, a Graphic Design major, from Waterford, Michigan, who will represent the graduating class of spring 2021 at the virtual  commencement ceremonies tomorrow, Saturday, May 1, 2021.  On behalf of the Board, Chair Seavoy congratulated Mr. Sims and presented him with a plaque.  A photo was taken with Mr. Sims, Chair Seavoy, and President Erickson.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT OF COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER

President Erickson announced the Mr. Bryan Terrell Clark, the Broadway star who played George Washington in Hamilton, will be the Spring 2021 Commencement Speaker at the virtual ceremony.

 

BOARD OF TRUSTEES STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS

Chair Seavoy recognized the students who received the Board of Trustees Student Achievement Awards this year.  (Addendum #1)

 

MOMENT IN NMU HISTORY

Dr. Russell Magnaghi, provided a report on a Moment in NMU’s History.  (Addendum #2)

 

ASNMU UPDATE

Emma Drever, President – ASNMU, and Bethany Beavers, President-Elect, provided a report on the semester accomplishments and plans for fall 2021. (Addendum #3)

 

Emma and Bethany responded to questions from the Trustees.

 

Chair Seavoy welcomed Bethany as the new ASNMU President.

 

Chair Seavoy congratulated Emma and thanked her for her leadership and energy while representing the students and presented her with a gift on behalf of the Board of Trustees.  A photo was taken.

 

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

President Erickson reported on university accomplishments.  His report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #4)

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

Finance Committee

Trustee Mahaney, Chair of the Finance Committee, reported on a meeting held Thursday, April 29, 2021.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #5)

 

Academic Affairs

Trustee Hart, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, reported on a meeting held Thursday, April 29, 2021.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #6)

 

Extended Learning and Community Engagement (ELCE)

Vice Chair Young, Chair of the ELCE Committee, reported on a meeting held Thursday, April 29, 2021.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #7)

 

CHARTER SCHOOL REAUTHORIZATIONS – WALTON PUBLIC SCHOOL ACADEMY and BURTON GLEN PUBLIC SCHOOL ACADEMY

The following action was taken:

 

It was moved by Trustee Hart, seconded by Trustee Seppanen, and supported by a vote of 8 – 0, that the Board of Trustees approve the following:

 

Reauthorization of Walton Public School Academy for a term of five years commencing July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2026 contingent upon revision of agreements to include language acceptable to  NMU regarding the approval process of charter school board members, and

 

Reauthorization of Burton Glen Public School Academy for a term which does not exceed two years (with an opportunity to add not more than three additional years upon satisfying contractual obligations as established by the CSO Director) commencing July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023 (if all criteria set forth in the contract are met, the contract will automatically extend for the additional three years – through June 30, 2026) contingent upon revision of agreements to include language acceptable to NMU regarding the approval process of charter school board members.

 

COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS

Chair Seavoy appointed Trustee Morgan to serve on the following committees:

 

ü  Extended Learning and Community Engagement Committee

ü  Ad Hoc Committee for Policy Review

 

The following action was taken:

 

It was moved by Trustee Murray-Brown, seconded by Trustee Young, and approved 8 – 0, that the Board of Trustees consent to Trustee Morgan’s appointment to the Extended Learning and Community Engagement Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee for Policy Review.

 

ACTION ON FORMAL RECOMMENDATIONS

The following action was taken:

 

It was moved by Trustee Fittante, seconded by Trustee Murray-Brown, and approved 8 – 0, to approve the Formal Recommendations as amended.  (Addendum #8)

 

COVID VACCINE DISCUSSION

The Trustees held a lengthy discussion regarding a possible mandate for all students, faculty, and staff to have COVID vaccines beginning fall 2021 semester.

 

It was agreed that the Administration will develop and bring to the Board a comprehensive plan by June 1, 2021 to incent achieving herd immunity on the campus community for fall 2021.  What the exact number is for herd immunity is unknown – it could be 70 – 85% but should be based on what the science is.  If we reach that number prior to the start of fall 2021 semester, we would have successfully completed this program and there would be no need to do anything else.  If we do not reach the herd immunity number that is determined, those that come to campus that are not vaccinated should be required to be tested every two weeks and produce a negative test.  Once herd immunity is reached, the testing would no longer be needed.  The plan will factor in the fluid state of the pandemic and determine a university response if herd immunity cannot be achieved through voluntary compliance.  The consensus of the Trustees was that the incentive should be, at a minimum, $100.  This does not preclude the administration from looking at additional incentives, such as a drawing.  The incentive would be applicable to students, faculty, and staff keeping in mind what the university can do in terms of federal or state requirements as it relates to faculty.  An education process regarding this incentive should start probably no later than mid-June so students are aware of what we are asking of them when they come back to campus and that the vaccine is critical. Trustees stated that the primary goal is maximum safety for the campus and surrounding community as NMU returns to pre-pandemic levels of face-to-face instruction, services, and campus activities.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT OF INFORMAL CLOSED SESSIONS TO BE HELD IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE THURSDAY – FRIDAY, JULY 22 – 23, 2021 SESSIONS OF THE BOARD

President Erickson made this announcement for the public record.

 

GOOD OF THE ORDER

Chair Seavoy opened the floor to the Trustees for Good of the Order.

 

Trustee Hart made the following comments:

·       She thanked the faculty, administration, and students on the accomplishments on both a micro and macro level to keep the university community a safe and respectful environment during such tumultuous times.

·       She congratulated the students who will be graduating tomorrow, May 1, 2021.

 

Trustee Young touched on the following:

·       He thanked the Chair and the Board for the thought vaccine discussion and said it’s an important step in keeping our students, faculty, and staff safe.

·       He reported on the eSports program and set up located in Harden Hall which the Board approved in 2019.  He appreciated the opportunity to watch the team play different games and encouraged everyone to go and see this program if they have the chance.

 

Trustee Mahaney commented on the following:

·       He thanked the faculty, staff, and students for their efforts and willingness to be flexible and accommodating during the past year, which has been very challenging.

·       He acknowledged AAUP President Dr. Brady’s comments to the Board at the beginning of today’s meeting.  We all share the same goal – to make Northern the best possible university it can be and look forward to seeing a mutually successful resolution of the contract negotiations that are underway.

·       He commented on the $3 million investment the university has made over the past three years in the Medicinal Plant Chemistry Program and that there are plans to invest more in the coming years.

·       He recognized the finance team under the leadership of Vice President Leach and the financial challenges the university faced this past year.  He said it’s quite an achievement that the university came out of this past year in a relatively strong financial health.

·       He recognized Coach Sten Fjeldheim’s many accomplishments as the head Nordic skiing coach during his tenure at NMU.  He said Coach Fjeldheim put Northern on the map both nationally and internationally and created national and individual All-American champions.

·       He thanked and recognized Provost and Vice President Schuiling for her leadership and vision during her career at Northern.

 

Trustee Morgan made the following comments:

·       He said it’s an honor and a privilege to be on this Board. 

·       NMU shapes entire lifetimes and gives people the opportunity to succeed.

·       NMU is more than the just the buildings and the grounds and the campus – it’s about the people, the culture – it’s about being at a place that says you are welcome here, you are home.

·       One of the things the Board can continue to do, is listen to our students.

·       It’s more than just the people in this room or the few days we have to interact with people when we’re here for meetings – it’s the faculty who have an incredible impact on student’s lives.  That is something unique and special about Northern.

·       One of the most impactful people for him while he was a student on campus and the student body president, was a custodian he saw every night while working in the ASNMU office and their conversations during that time.

 

Trustee Seppanen made the following comments:

·       He said he is proud to be on the Board, especially with the action that has been taken during this meeting.

·       He lives in the community and is pleased and proud of the leadership the staff, students, and faculty have shown during this pandemic to keep the campus and community safe.

 

Trustee Murray-Brown touched on the following:

·       She thanked the Chair and Vice Chair for what has been a compelling day of discussion.  She is proud to be a part of this Board for the reasons that have been demonstrated.

·       She welcomed Trustees Morgan and Seppanen to the Board.

·       Over the last year she has been provided with extreme confidence in the students, staff, faculty, and administration for what has been done together during the pandemic.

·       She congratulated the students who will be graduating tomorrow, May 1.

·       She congratulated Provost and Vice President Schuiling on her upcoming retirement and thanked her for her passion and dedication to excellence during her tenure at Northern.

 

Trustee Fittante made the following comments:

·       She said she is happy to be back on campus for the meeting.

·       She agrees with Trustee Young on the experience of seeing the eSports program in action.

·       She appreciated the response to the COVID pandemic and believes NMU is going in the right direction to get back to some type of normalcy.

·       She welcomed Trustees Seppanen and Morgan to the Board.

 

Trustee Seavoy made the following comments:

·       She congratulated the graduates and other students, as well as faculty, staff, and administration on a year well done with many outstanding students awarded, a myriad of competition winners – it has been a remarkable year during a very difficult time.

·       She thanked the administration and the audio-visual department for their work getting this meeting made public and live-streamed so people could view it.

·       She thanked the staff of Northern Center and Event Services for making everyone comfortable on campus – socially distanced and able to take care of everyone’s needs.

·       She appreciated Dr. Brady’s expression of the common ground we share – that’s what we’re doing here – finding common ground among faculty, administration, the Board – that’s what we seek and hopefully what we accomplish.

·       She thanked Provost Schuiling for the wonderful job she has done for Northern. 

 

ADJOURNMENT

Chair Seavoy adjourned the meeting at 10:51 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

/signed/Cathy A. Andrew

Secretary of the Board of Trustees